A HISTORY OF THE LIFE OF AMOS OWENS, THE NOTED BLOCKADER, OF CHERRY MOUNTAIN, 'N. C. M. L. Irtlhite %.' PWW m w North Carolina State Library Raleigh m Ibistov^ m Z\)c %itc ©f Hmos ©wens, ^be floteb Blochaber, ®f Cbetr^ ilDountain, fl. C. Clevjelaijsu ."SrAR .»oB Print, »Y. N"j cr4 •• l^j^B^ m Preface. In offering this work to a reading and borrow- g public, the Author does not deem it necessary make an apology. The characters are not creations of fancy, for mos Owens at Cherry Mountain and Jerry Bjw- lin at his mountain home are much in evidence. Partly at the aged, infirm but still alive block- ader, this work was undertaken, and partly at our own inclination. He did not feel adequate to the task, and was handicapped by many difficulties. The hera of Cherry Mountain, baing unlettered, has kept no records, and hence has to depend on a treacherous memory that is incident to over eighty years in the making of history. We cherished no fond hope of setting the river on fire, and should such a conflagration occur, no one would be greater surprised than the Authar. Neither has it been the aim, as J. Proctor Knott of Kentucky would say, ' 'to strain the blankets of veracity, " but these characters are given as found during a sojourn of eighteen years near the scenes of their operations; while the incidents are partly obtained from old and reliable resident witnesses. This work was not intended as a stricture or a series of strictures on the revenue service, nor as an apology for the maker of contraband whiskey. Neither is it expected to adorn the Sunday School library, for the hero did not die young and a picture would here be out of place of a funeral scene with a youthful figure the central figure in the repose of death surrounded by weeping friends and relatives. Nor yet is it expected that it be recommended in a course of theology, nor that the absent-mind- ed philosopher will draw inspiration from its A History of Amos Owens' Life. pages. The effort to glorify .crime has been avoided, and nothing here is given to cause the youthful reader to desire a life of crime. Nay, verily; but through all these pages runs the solemn warning: "The way of the transgressor is hard," and the effort has been made to preserve a chaste and simple style. Instead of a bewildering array of dates and an intricate plot the effort has been made to remain near the soil, which is the place if one ever expects to get an enduring hold on the public. With the passing of Amos Owens, the present condition of affairs and the mandates of sdciaty will soon relegate the blockader to the past— tlier a a dim and fading monument of . a semi-barbar )ii< age^ ; " \ The press and pulpit hurl their denuliciations at this unholy traffic, and the stately stepping of eii- cation brought about by modest, humble but n ^^13 ^ the less powerful school master who isnowabr :ad and here to stay, will beat back many of the hordes of intemperance and other powerful agen- cies of darkness. In the modest hope that no one will be worse by the perusal, but that all may be enter tainel if ml edified, and that our next bow will be hailed with rapture, we trust this infant industry to the ten- der mercies of a fun loving public. I COEN CRACKER. M. L. WHITE. Polkville, N- C, Cleveland Co., Aug. 22, 1901. A History of Amos Owens' Life. Caption of Chapters. CHAPTER I. Youth, of a famous maker of contraband whis- key. Parentage, and early school days. His ex- perience at musters and record as a hunter, horse- man and fighter. CHAPTER n. He begins his career as a distiller, and later, bays "Cherry Mountain"— now celebrated in song and story. His marriage briefly noted. Mention ol Jesse R. DePriest, a quaint character of this mountain. Amos becomes a fine farmer. He enlists as a Southern volunteer. Is a sharp shooter at Petersburg. Is at the "blow up." His experience with dropsy. Prison life, and his to- ba.c3 deal. Has typhoid fever coming home. Health restored by working hard all night at a distillery. - CHAPTER III. Resists the revenue tax. ' 'Bread the staff of life and whiskey life itself," saith he, backed by the sentiment of his neighl3ors. The "red-legged grass hopper" becomes a burden. The revenue officers given this sobriquet by ex-Governor and then Sen- ator Vance. The famous black-heart cherry re- gion. Part of ' 'The Switzerland of America. " Cherry bounce invented. CHAPTER IV. His first trial for selling ' 'blockade, " or moon- shine whiskey. "Beats the bond" by masquerad- ing, and sells forty gallons at the trial. Is a cap- italist in disguise, and is the pride andenvy of his A HiSTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. less frond companions. CHAPTER V. Again is brought to trial. Sketch of "Rev." Geo. Deck, of color, who alternately preaches and operates a wild cat distillery. Passing notice of "Cooney" Hunnicutt, a martyr of the whipping post. Except a predeliction to lie, cheat and steal; Honeycutt is an honest man. Col. Whangdoodle Tessiner, also a witness. His absent-mindedness, Amos comes clear, and again sells forty gallons. CHAPTER VI. Rise of "Invisible Empire," or "Ku Klux Klan." Troubles of "Reconstruction." Negroes and their leaders cause a clash. ' 'The U nion Leagues. " The grotesque disguises and the terror of the superstitious negroes. Amos is a leader. Dectruction of James Justice's printing plant and whipping of Aaron Biggerstaff . Martial law prevails, and Amos Owens and others arrested. Devotion of our hero. Randolph Shotwell, Adol- phus DePriest, Plato Durham and others. The above named are sentenced to a term of six years at Sing Sing, Albany, New York, and all placed in durance vile, except Plato Durham. While awaiting trial, Amos sells whiskey at Rutherford- ton and Marion, N. C. Plato Durham gets Amos pardoned at end of two years, and fine of |5,500 remitted. CHAPTER VII. Is a free man once more, but finds that the red- legged grass-hopper has again devoured his sub- stance. Goes gunning; and lands in jail. Meets ' 'Aunt Polly Price, " a Rutherford youngster of 99 who has kept his bureau — rescuing the same from the festive grasshopper. A History of Amos Owens' Life. CHAPTER Vni. Is haled before Judge Dick at Asheville. The dignified reprimand of • 'his honor, " and Amos quotes the language of the governor of North Carolina to the governor of South Carolina. Again sent to Sing Sing. ' 'Kill the fatted prodigal, for the calf has got back. " "One year for rest and refreshments. " ' 'The place sought the man and not the man the place. " CHAPTER IX. Improves his resort, or ' 'earth, " two stills de- stroyed, Che.ry Mountain is the Mecca of conviv- ial spirits, and they come from everywhere. The varied festivities, dancing, flying jennies, the prize ring. The pious young man from Gastonia slays a man with an iron stirrup. CHAPTER X. The ' 'gander-pulling" the dog and chicken fights, and deeds of mortal combat. Burt Franklin — an ancient warrior, and a mighty "gander puller" in the earth. Wanted to enlist in '98 to ' 'Remember the Maine." CHAPTER XL The duel between two colored Lotharios, ' 'All on account of Eliza, " Jack Badniss, colored, the victor, J. Dudley Bomar "never came back." The victor captures the one-eypd widow of 47, and her $40. Is now living in splendor on Cherry Moun- tain. CHAPTER XIL Is Amos Owens black as painted? He continues to I still and sell brandy, whiskey and bounce, in spite of Uncle Sam and the ' 'locusts. " He is caught in South Carolina and imprisoned one A History of Amos Owens' Life. year. Heroic defense of Sheriff Glenn from the assault of three negroes. Become the Joseph^ of the prison. The bees swarm and Amos hives them. They fight "like the colored troops" — no- bly, but the old blockader captures them and sings; "God Save the Queen." CHAPTER Xni. He improves Cherry Mountain — resolves to build a tower or observatory in interest of service. Was arrested, and the project failed. CHAPTER XIV. Again is captured, and is tried before Judge Dick, sent again to Sing Sing w^here his reception is characteristic. Amos claims he is there to take a "post-graduate course." CHAPTER XV. Another blockader comes on the stage — a bold bad man who shoots to kill. Terrorizes North and South Carolina. A marshall and blockader by turns. Is outlawed and traced to his lair. Des- perate fight with captors, in which he is seriously shot and wounded. Recovers and is exiled by court. CHAPTER XVL Another doing blockader Avho has reformed and has symptoms of engaging in ministry. After a desperate fight with his brother-in-law leaves the territory. Author, wh!le not a lawyer, defends him at a Cherry Mountain temple of justice. All wept but the client, the "law^-er," and the mutes thereof. Lives an exemplary life now, and would preach, but can't read. CHAPTER XVII. The last trial of Amos Owens. By kindness A HisTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. and an exhortation, Judge Dick wins a promise of reform. Tearful, and later, a jubilant scene in the court room. ' 'Go your way and sin no more. " CHAPTER XVIII. Mineral wealth, forestry, and grand and en- chanting view of "The Land of the Sky" from Cherry Mountain. Gold, silver, lead, mica and manazite found here. What is, "Taxation with out representation?" CHAPTER XIX. Yv^ork written by a man who never saw inside a moonshine distillery. The work is attested by good and living witnesses. Xo drawing on imag- inations for buccaneers, pirates or bandits. Xo incarcerated maidens who are sought out by spi- der, legged dudes who wear tin shields and carry dark lanterns and swamp angel pistols. CHAPTER XX. Xo romance worth mentioning, is on record as to his courtship and marriage. The old man worming and suckering tobacco and the girl peel- ing walnuts. Married by a justice who took a quart and a coonskin. "Took an observation, " over the bottle. Went to a house three stories long and one story high. Both still there. Squat- ter Sovereignty. Jerry Bowlin as hard to dislodge as Amos is to stop from stilling. The Syndicate, backed by the majority of the law, tries to dis- lodge him. The house comes down, but Phoenix- like, it rises again. Jerry testifies on Sunday oc- casions, that lightning in the north is a ' 'shore" sign of rain. Given over to his devices, he still digs, sand, peels tan bark, hunts squirrels and has frequent "shindigs." AMOS OWEISS. o 99 or TO cr A History of the Life — »?WSm-.— The saying lias become trite, that truth is stranger than fiction. Tlie reahns of the latter abound in scenes of blood and thunder, where pirates, Indians, coun- terfeiters, cow-boys and others are the central fig- ures, but another class exists in the mountain reg- ions of Kentucky, Tennesee, North Carolina, Vir- ginia and Georgia, that a true recital of their ad- ventures, made of life, together with their fierce conflicts with the minions of the law known as deputy marshals, would be more thrilling than any recital of deeds of daring or shrewd cunning that adorn the realms of romance. While these latter day Ishmaelites are not al- ways depraved by nature, their peculiar calling forces them to often become outlaws, and some of them, outside of a deep-seated hatred of the ' 'rev- enuers," as they are called in the vernacular of the moonshiner, and a deep-seated defiance of the "Grovernment" are good neighbors, and in all oth- er respects', honest men, the noblest work of God. In their isolated environments, they can raise little but corn, and being remote from railroads or commercial centres, the bread and butter prob- lem requires that they make all they can of this cereal. Most of them are illiterate, and, therefore un- progressive. , The "mixed team" of a mule and ox, 10 A HisTOBY OF Amos Owens' Life. yea, sometimes the male and milk cow, the tar- axle wagon, with the obsolete pattern of plow that flourished in the days of Andrew Jackson, are their equipment to wrest a living from the bosom of mother earth. While corn is worth from twenty five to fifty cts. per bushel, and perhaps a two days drive from their homes to a town where their quaint costumes and grotesque teams provoke derision, and where, after trying the market thef are told they will have to ' 'take in trade" something they do not want, they resolve to convert the same into whis- key — a commodity that the depraved appetites of mankind makes a "legal tender. " They, like all other ignorant people, live in the ' 'good old days" when whiskey was untaxed. For their infraction of the revenue laws they have been hunted like wild beasts and ferocious bandits, and the fierce sanguinary encounters be- tween them and the ofl3.cers of the government, when fairly written, would be a series of thrill- ing recitals. While ' 'Redmond, the Outlaw, " a noted moonshiner of this State, has been the hero of romance, and has contributed to recent history as an avenger of blood for the "blockaders" or makers of contraband whiskey as called in this state ; a greater than Redmond is here. While the deeds of Redmond and his henchmen rivalled the reign of terror in Robeson, Richmond and Cum- berland counties of North Carolina which were perpetrated by Henry Berry and Steve Lowery, Croaton bandits descended from John White's last colony; the remarkable adventures of Amos Owens, who is now enthroned on Cherry Moun- tain, causes all the deeds of the other moonshin- ing ilk to pale into insignificance. This remark- able man was born over eighty years since on Sandy Run, in Rutherford County, North Caro- lina. His father was a ne'er do well, and would A History of 'Amos Owens' Life. 11 fill the literary character of the present known as the "cheerful idiot. " The grandfather of Amos was also a native Tar-heel, and was a patriot in the Revolution. He was at King's Mountain where the dashing and intrepid Col. Ferguson made the ranting boast that "God Aimighey could not dislodge him. " But the deadly marksmen of the McDow- ell contingent, among whom was the Amos Owens for whom the subject of this sketch ' was named, with their deadly hair triggered rifles hurled the minions of King Greorge from this eminence cele- brated in song and story. Ferguson was slain, and in five miles of the present castle of Amos Owens, about twenty tories were hung, and the site of the famous "gallows oak" is still pointed out to the passer-by. Except a rugged well knit frame, a constitution like boarding-house butter, digestion like the bowels of a threshing machine, there was nothing specially unbearable about the youth of Amos Owens. He was strong, active, an unerring shot, and, while peaceable, would fight desperately when aroused. Grood markmanship, and athletic sports were common with all young men and boys of that pe- riod, and all grievances were adjusted by fistic encounters. Amos is unlettered, having never attended school but a few days. His instructor was a queer Irishman known as "Old man O'Neil. " The principal educational helps used in this temple of knowledge were harness tugs and barrel staves, and the play time diversions were bull-pen and dog-fighting. Amos at this age showed aversion to restraint, and a few applica- tions of the harness tug caused him to "side-track" on the road to learning. At nine years of age he was hired out, and was a ' 'hewer of wood and a dra war of water" till he 12 A HisTOKY OF Amos Q wens' Life. .at t(ained the age of twenty three. •- ., r : Among his neighbors were some wealthy gentle- man, who had a great passion for .deer' hiintng and fox-chasing. These men were respectively: Dr. James Cabaniss^ John Lattimore, Joe; Latti- more, D. B. Lattimore; William Elliott and Col. A. J. Elliott. Except P. D. Lattimore, -aged 82, and the hero , of this story, all have passed over the river — J. C. Lattimore dying two years since at the age of 84. Amos was a fine rider, with the woodcraft and hunting instinct of the red man of the forest, and was, therefore, a welcome acquisition to any hunt- ing party. He, also, became a noted breaker of horses, and as such was in great demand. Nothing eventful occur ed during this period except his marriage to a Miss Sweezy, a near neighbor, who still lives, aged 82. He took great delight in attending the military "musters" of this region, which did more to keep up the martial spirit in actual pugilistic encounters, than to de- velop a knowledge of military tactics. Men for real or fancied grievances stripped to, the waist and fought in a ring, sometimes as high as twen- ty such encounters taking place in one day at a muster. In these encounters Amos Avas a frequent participant, and was never known to strike his colors. At the shooting matches he became so ex- pert, -that he was ruled out of matches for beef. The only condition on which he was allowed to compete, was to shoot for the "lead" which he al- most invariably won. CHAPTER n. In 1845 he bought 100 acres of land from Thom- as Calton near Cherry Mountain. He planted a crop, but this was a season of universal drought. All old people speak of the "dry year of 45." In '46 he began his career, as a distiller, little A History of Amos Owens' Life. 13 dreaming this career was to make liim famous. He had no tax to pay, and being a good distiller, he made money. Six years later, he bought the historic Cherry Mountain, or rather 100 acres from Jesse R. DePriest. The latter was a celebrity, who figured as a famous fighter, and was never downed in telling of a more remarkable experience than any other man he ever met, be he a stranger or home-talent. As a stage driver, a fighter, or a ladies man, he had the call over anything quick or dead he ever met or read about. Later, Amos bought 140 acres from William DePriest, the father of the celebrated Jesse. No- body wondered at the DePriests' for selling this property, but all marvelled at Amos for making the purchase. Jesse DePriest used to relate that every crow that flew over Cherry Mountain had a canteen of water and a haversack of rations strapped to his person. But Amos caused the desert to blossom as the rose. He made fine corn and oats, and his yield of wheat was about 150 bushels every season. Neith- er was he unmindful of the mountain ' 'legal ten- der." He kept his still ranning, and his coffers bulged ^4th filthy lucre. When the war of '61 opened, he cast his fortunes with the South, and enlisted as a volunteer in the company made up by Capt. H. D. Lee, after- wards promoted to major. His regiment was the 16th N. C, and he was in the Valley Mountain region of Virginia and also at Manassas. At Wolf Run, after serving twelve months, was dis- charged, the army surgeons saying he had an incurable case of dropsey. He was sent home, and his neighbors thinking dropsey was "ketching," shunned him as they would the roving pestilence. He stayed at home twelve months and entirely 14 A History of Amos Owens' Life. recovered. His martial spirit chafed at inaction, and he paid his own transportation to Salisbury, N. C, where he enrolled in the 56th N. C. regi- ment, in company under Capt. J. B. Harrill. He wae detailed to hunt deserters, and to this line of service was admirably adapted. Later, he was in the seige of Petersburg as a sharp-shooter. It is related that he always fired after a careful aim, and as he took his smoking rifle from his face, would say: "And may the Lord have mercy on the soul of that blue-coat." At the celebrated ' 'blow up" a South Carolina regiment was over the mine, and they were an- nihilated by the explosion. The regiment of Amos was near, and when the smoke lifted from the "crater," a division of colored troops were pushed into the yawning chasm by the federals. This was the most terrible scene of carnage af- forded by that bloody war. The Southern troops fired one volley, and gave them the bayonet. Ev- ery negro in this charge perished, and Amos was a participant in the sanguinary scene. He says no more revolting sight was ever witnessed in this lost and ruined world. As a soldier Amos was brave and remarkably vigilant. He seemed to love battle for battles sake, and although "a high private in the rear rank," frequently cursed his comrades for shoot- ing up in the trees when the Yankees were just as close to the ground as they could git." He was captured at Dinwiddle, and carried as a i)risoner to Point Lookout. Here he suffered the ()rivations incident to prison life, but with his characteristic buoyancy of spirits, resolved te make the best of the situation. He tried to laugh and grow fat, but learned that all laughter and no food would not add to his corporacity. Always a shrewd trader he con- sidered one dollar in the hand, when a man was A HiSTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. 15 starving, worth five in tlie bush at his Cherry Mountain home. He found a money changer in the temple, who was a shining light of philan-' thropy. This gentleman, touched by the round unvarnished tale of woe, which Amos did unfold, generously tendered Amos one dollar in "green back" in consideration of a note bearing legal in- terest for five dollars in gold. With this dollar, Amos made a deal with the shylock who posed as Sutler, and got all the plug tobacco purchas- able for one hundred cents. This he cut into "chaws" and did not make them too large. He then' became a retailer of a concoction made of fodder, cabbage and lamp black, but veneered with tobacco. Amos, among his other accomplishments had never cultivated the habit of using the weed. For one "chaw" he exacted a "tin" of soup and if some rash speculator wanted two "chaws" he parted company with a rasher of bacon. Amos said on one side it was liberality and starvation, while on the other was extorsion and high living. He chose the latter, and in the experience and ob- servation of this corn-fed philosopher who how holds the pen, such a man as Amos who sell chews of tabacco at ten prices are wiser in their generation than the children of light who open the brand of Liberality. In three months he was paroled, and an arrival at terminus of railroad, 60 miles from home, was stricken With typhoid fever. Here he was, out of money, out of tobacco, and among strangers. But ever fertile in resources, he got home, and for twenty-eight days the watchers sat in vigil at his bedside, and Dr. Phillip Carson, a fine physici an said: "He is bound to die." But his grim will- power fought back the enemy, and in three months an amaciated skeleton with little left of Am)s Owens, but his fierce black eyes and mar- 16 A HisTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. tial spirit said he was going to his brandy distil- lery. Dr. Carson was present and expostul- ated. He declared if Amos rode that horse to the distillery all the doctors in the State could not keep him out of perdition. The reply of Amos was characteristic. He said; ' 'Doctor you say if I go I'll be damned, and I say if I don't go I'll b3 damned." By that time a horse was brought around, that nobody but Amos dared ride at any time. The audacious patient mounted him and rode to the distillery, and then worked hard all night. From that time his recovery was rapid, and he was soon the picture of rugged health. CHAPTER III. By this time a heavy tax was inposed on all whisky and brandy, but Amos registered a blood red oath that this tax heVl never pay. He reverently believed that while bread was the staff of life whiskey was life itself. That it was the chief end of man to raise enough corn to make whiskey, and convert the remainder into bread. He had fought the government, been im- prisoned by the government, been starved by the government, and he didn't propose to divide pro- fits of his whiskey business with the government. The still was his, the corn was his, the land was his, and the raiders of Kirk and Holden had looted his property. Besides, the government had freed the only negro he had, and he'd see them al~>out getting tax. Truth to tell, nearly all the people in the south were in sympathy with such men as Amos. While many of them were opposed on general principles to the manufacture and sale of whiskey, the esi)ionage of the federal revenue officers was odious. Amos owned Cherry Mountain which was 3000 (slorm Carolina :>TaTe Liorary Raleigh A History of Amos Owens' Life. 17 feet above the level of the sea. From here was a most enchanting view of the mountain scenery that is called the ' 'Switzerland of America, " and from here could be seen Shelby, Rutherfordton, King's Mountain, with a view of the mountains of Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee. Here could be breathed the pure air of heaven, and here as pure limpid water as ever gurgled from the bosom of mother earth rippled down the delves of the mountains. Here grew the famous cherry trees, some three feet in diameter, and are found no- where else; that yielded every June a crop of fruit remarkable for its size and flavor. Here was found the ideal honey producing flavors of poplar, chestnut and sourwood, and here was the ideal range for the cattle of a thousand hills. The home of the cow, the honey-bee, pure water and invigorating mountain air, and not excelled on earth for the fruit tree and the vine. Amos said here would he build a castle like the baron of feudal times, and here should be the land of milk and honey, peach and honey, and the abiding place of cherry bounce. No man had ever before tried to adorn and beautify Cherry Mountain, nor had it ever occurred to anybody to offer to a convivial public this drink now celebrated in song and story. The preparation made and warranted by Amos Owens is a compound of 44 blue steel whiskey, honey and cherry juice. Later on, will deal more minutely with cherry bounce, but at this period Amos built a large cattle-like building and offer- ed to a public this elixir. CHAPTER IV. The powers that be had issued the fiat that all whiskey and brandy must be tax paid, or there would be fines, imprisonment and confiscation. 18 A HisTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. Amos had said lie would make what whiskey and brandy he pleased; and tendered the government the '^ame pious message issued by the late lament- ed Vanderbilt to the public. In those days, the revenue officers were often adventurers of the most unscrupulous character. The inimitable Zeb Vance, ex-governor and sena- tor, of North Carolina, satirically called them "red-legged grasshoppers. " As Amos continued to do business at the old stand regardless of the government and the nuisance thereof, two officers came up one day and placed him under arrest, and otherwise harassed him, till the red-legged grass-hopper became a burden. They were satis- fied that he'd go if he promised, and as. he made no resistance they took his recognizance to appear at Asheville, N C. He loaded up a barrel of "blockade" or moon- shine whiskey, and told one of his henchmen to come on three days after to Asheville. The fel- low was shrewd and loaded a barrel of brandy into a wagon, and filled up with sweet potatoes and chestnuts. Amos went on afoot, and his masquerading would have done credit to ' 'Old Sleuth" of dime novel creation. He put on a pair of slick copperas breeches, a hat that like the "Niobe of nations," was "crownless and childless," the same having been used as a "holder," in smooth- ing iron and parlance. For two years it had been used to lift hot things around the distillery. His shoes were red stogas and his suspenders were leather. Above Rutherfordton he overtook two others who were likewise making a pilgrimage to Asheville on the same errand. Our hero tried to stimulate the appearance of an inspired idiot, while his companions tried to masquerade as high- rollers. They looked with scorn on the vile-look- ing walking delegate, and seemed ashamed of his A History of Amos Owens' Life. 19 company. When tliey arrived, all hands were placed on trial, and Amos employed a lawyer for all three. When the hat circulated the two haughty high-rollers had depleted exchequers, but Amos had a very plethoric roll. When the dudish blockaders saw this, they imagined him a capitalist in disguise, and treated him with mark- ed consideration. All were acquitted and Amos went out to sell his load of "taters" that had just arrived. It was soon evident that ' 'taters" were in great demand, all the bar-rooms, hotels, and many private families, being "just out." Amos went home in his wagon, having sold 20 bushels and 40 gallons of "taters," and Cherry Mountain was again a place where the still-worm dieth no(; and the fire is not quenched. CHAPTER V. In a few months he had another visitation of red-legged grasshoppers. This time he was ar- raigned before 'Squire Wilson of Rutherfordton. The witnesses against him were the Rev. George Deck of color, Cooney Honeycutt, and Col.'. Whangdoodle Tessiner, known generally by the euphonious cognomen of "Rosineer," (roasting ear.) The Reverend Deck was a maker and retailer of wild cat whiskey, and, in his own language, had heard a very audible and peremptory call to work in "de Laud's tanyard." Like most of his race, he was an artist on the barjoseph; and wore a very ancient "derby" and a James Swinger coat of obselete pattern. In the spring and winter he distilled whiskey, and when the sultry dog days drew nigh apace, he blossomed out as an evange- list and called sinners to repentance. His . favor- ite text was: "It is easier for a needle to go through the eye of a camel than for a rich man to sae the Kingdom of Gaud. " His hearers were 20 A History of Amos Owens' Life. invariably negroes who daily wrestled with the problem as to how buckle and tongue could be made to meet, but he addressed them as though all were capitalists, and painted in lurid colors the final woe of the bloated-bond-holder. He al- ways took up a collection, and left them as pen- niless as though he was a professor of "thimble- rig." On one occasion he had an appointment for himself to preach, and a confederate to sell some of his wild-cat whiskey at the same appointment. At the evening service many of his auditors came in with very suspicious bottles of the mother- hubbard variety sticking out their pockets. The Rev. Deck looked at them in solemn gravity and expatiated thusly; "De gates of he- ben am berry narer men ail' bredren, an' you'll do well to squeeze f rough your self; let alone a great bottle swingin to Ye, Come right on an' let us offer dem as a sacrifice to the Laud. " When the time came for the night service, it is related that Bro. Deck was too drunk to brush a horse- fly from the end of his nose. Mr. Honeycutt was conversant with the whip- ping post, having been there interviewd for let- ting a hog follow him home and putting the same in a pork-barrel, also, for looting his grandma's spee's, and for taking a ' 'pea-fowl" fly-brush at Christmas time. He, however, interpolated every expression with: "(rod knows I'm an honest man," Col. Whangdoodle Tessineer was noted for be- ing rather absent-minded. When hogs ran out in the range, nearly all owners had ear-marks. His ear mark was "two smoothcrops. " That obliterated all other marks, and he frequently practiced this in moments of absent-minded- ness. Amos knew the layout and defended his own case. The roars of laughter he evoked caused the A History of Amos Owens' Life. 21 whole thing to develop into a roaring farce, and he was acquitted. Ever after this episode Tessiner has been called "Shacknorty, " and Honeycutt, "(ji-reasy Jim." Both have since left these regions, and Deck is al- ternately preaching and stilling. CHAPTER VI. We now approach a time momentous in the his- tory of North Carolina, and eventful in the career of Amos Owens. So far he had outwitted the red-legged grasshopper except in two instances, and his court experience was bat amusement. When the war closed and the Southern Slave be- came a citizen and later, was, in the language of Bill Nye, "clothed with the divine right of suf- frage," discordant elements clashed. However patriotic may have been the motives of the federal administration, the work of "re-constraction" was as the sowing of dragon's teeth. The leading white people of the South were in- dignant at seeing their former slaves their politi- cal equals, and a season of rapine, blood-shed and anarchy ensued. The negroes, intoxicated with the boon of tree- dom, and instigated by unscrupulous politicians, became insolent. While no people in their condi- tion had ever been so loyal to the women and children while the men of the South were battling to forge their fefcters, a feeling of unrest and dis- trust had now settled on both races. By some strange frenzy or hallucination, many of the freed slaves that were styled by General Butler, "con- traband of war," were arrayed against the kind old master and his family, whom, during the struggle ' when the negro's destiny hung in the b ce, they would have died to maintain and protbct. 22 A HiSTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. C n the side of the administration were organ- ized Union Leagues, and, with many of the ne- groes, liberty degenerated into license. The southern soldier had accepted the fortunes of war in the generous terms of surrender at Ap- pomattox, and while he went to a desolated home, and fields that grim war had ravaged he felt that he could again take up the burden of life. But when he saw the slave of yesterday the intolerant master of to-day, it was too much for the proud Cavalier. JSfo, doubt, both sides made mistakes, but certain it is that, in retaliation, was organ- ized the "Kuklux Klan, " The intention of this was to put in subjection the negroes, and to hold their unscrupulous white leaders in abeyance. By subjection is not of course, meant to again impose the shackles of slavery, but to bridle their domineering and lustful spirit. The Kuklux were a secret and oath bound organization, that rode a.bout at night in grotesque disguise. This struck terror to the hearts of the superstitious negroes, for their ghostly array and the phantom like tread of their muffled horses made the negro believe they were the ghostly avengers of the south from the battle-fields of the southern slain. While no mob violence is to be commended, their visitations were said, at first, to have a salutary effect. The organization was at first controlled by men of coolness and discretion, who would tolerate no ex- cesses. But a lawless and vicious element crept in, who had personal scores to settle Many offenders were whipped, some banished, and others even slain. Early in the action, Amos Owens became a member, and his energy, persis- tence and courage, made him a leading spirit. In the first place he had no love for a govern- ment that would allow a red-legged grass-hopper prey upon him, and in the next he didn't like to see "Cuffey" in the saddle. It is said that every A History of Amos Owens' Life. white ' 'red string" that felt the rod of the avenger could see the fine Italian hand of this muscular Kuklux, and every negro that felt the stinging lark thought if it were not some phantom cavalier from Gettysburg it must be Amos. At length James Justice, a Republican editor, of Rutherfordton, was seized, treated with indig- nity and his press and fixtures destroyed. On the same night, Aaron Biggerstaff a noted and very unpopular "red-string," as the republi- cans were called, was given a very severe castiga- tion. Soldiers and deputy marshalls were sent to the scene of disturbance, and soon the counties of Cleveland and Rutherford swarmed with men whose mission was to uphold the majesty of the law. On information of Aaron Biggerstaff war- rants were sworn out against Amos as a partici- pant in the whipping of himself, and as a perpe- trator in the destruction of the printing office and the rough treatment of Editor Justice. Many fled the State, some turned State's evidence, but Amos Owens, Plato Durham, Randolph Shotwell, Adol- phus DePriest, etc. , stood their ground like stern old Romans. Five soldiers and three marshalls came for Amos, and found him making malt. He went to Rutherf ordton jail where he was incarcerated two weeks. Before he had been there three days his trusty potato peddler was on hand, and Amos was enabled, by the kindness of his captors, to sell 20 more bushels and 40 gallons of "taters." He got a change of venue to Marion, N. C, and in two days his bewhiskered confederate was on deck with more "taters." Like Rutherf ordton, the market was unusually active that day, and with the alleged eagle-eyed marshalls at his heels, he sold out ' '20 bushels and 40 gallons. " He and the others were taken thence to the capital City, Raleigh, and there they were ^r- 24 A HiSTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. raigned before Judge Baird. Many turned State's evidence here, or ' 'puked" as it was called by the the ones who stood the ordeal. Every overture was made to induce Amos Owens, Randolph Shot- well, Adolphus DePriest and Plato Durham to betray their comrades, but all such propositions were met with indignant scorn. When the evi- dence was taken the sentence was, ' 'six years in Sing Sing at hard labor, and a fine of $5500 each. " Adolphus DePriest was turned out to die before his sentence expired and died in a few weeks af- ter reaching home. Randolph Shotwell served part of his sentence and died soon after, but is venerated as a true and great man, and the mem- ory of Adolphus DePriest is also venerated. Plato Durham was released, and threw his whole pow- erful influence into the scale for his unfortunate comrades. He went to Washington City and had an interview with the president. By his courage, zeal and eloquence, he caused the sphinx-like hero of Appomattox to sign the order for the release of Amos Owens. . CHAPTER VII. At the end of two years Amos was again on the soil of Cherry Mountain, and felt like Mr. Greggoi" on his native heath. But again had the red-legged grasshopper become a burden. In his absence the festive grass-hoppers had carried away three horses, three wagons, several cows, his bu- reau, beds, and even his grindstone. Three strong petitions had been sent up for his pardon, but the "grass-hoppers" whom Amos hated as veritable locusts from the bottomless pit, had sent counter petitions which said, ' 'Nay, verily, for he is a pestilent fellow and mover of sedition." The scene of desolation he met at home would hav^ crushed a spirit less bold, but Amos was cast in heroic mold. He got his trusty gun and hunted A HisTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. 25 his plunder. For this he was placed in durance vile in Rutherford jail and there languished un- til court, when the judge ordered his release. One incident worthy to relate, perhaps, is the recov- ery of his bureau. It was at "Aunt" Polly Price's. He went for it and she said it was left there by '-grass hopper" and that she was glad to restore it. She being 99 years of age, then informed him she would soon attain 100 years. On that occa- sion, if Amos would send over a few "taters," she would set a big dinner and they would dance the "highland fling." Amos said nothing would please him better, but he had promised shoe shop "No. 1" at Sing Sing he'd soon be back, and he never liked to disappoint them. He saved what he could out of the wreck and soon his bounce and other products of his labra- tory were on the market and his coffers were full of filthy lucre. CHAPTER VIII. But a Nemisis was on his trail, and the villain still pursued him. Like the ghost of Banquo, the revenue oflicers would not "avaunt," but like the unbidden ghost at the feast the red-legged grass- hopper was ever present. He was sent to Sing Sing for kuklux outrages in 1872, and in 1876 while performing his sorrowful vigil at the bed side of a dying neighbor, he felt the grasp of personified law. He was in the toils of the "locusts," and was the same night remanded to Rutherford jail. Later, he appeared for trial be- fore Judge Dick, at the revenue court of Asheville, N. C. Judge Dick heard the evidence, and be- fore passing sentence said : ' 'Amos Owens stand up. Once before you have trodden the winepress as a Sing Sing convict, and you have stiffened 26 A History of Amos Owens' Life. your neck and liardened your heart again, against the majesty of the law you have made whiskey and sold the same. Why will you per- sist in your lawless course? Look at me, I am sixty years of age, was never drunk, and have never incurred the woe pronounced against him that putteth tli3 bottle tohis neighbor's lips. What have you to say, why the sentence of the law should not be pronounced upon you?" Amos cocked one eye, cleared his throat and with mock solemnity, said: "Well, Judge, yon have missed a durned lot of fun if you haint never made, drunk nor sold no licker. As to what I have to say about being sentenced — Judge, do you know what the Governor of North Caro- lina said to the Governor of South Carolina? "Them's my sentiments." "One year in Sing Sing and twelve hundred dollars fine, " roared the irate Judge. Amos was promptly taken to this bastile of Uncle Sam, and it is said the officials of that institution of learn- ing had a torch-light procession in his honor: Amos entered -with glee into the festivities; and approached the gate between two ' 'red-legged grass-hoppers," singing: "Hold the fort for t am coming." The wardens said: "Kill the fatted prodigal for the calf lias got back." All the Sing Sing contingent hailed liis appear- ance with great joy. The warden continued; "My unconverted friend, Amos, though long absent, has returned to his first love. As the ox knoweth his master's crib, so doth Amos come to the high tower and rock of refuge for the transgressor. Let the band play: "Jordan is a hard road to travel. " The superintendent also extended the follow- ing royal welcome: "My unconverted friend, this is neither a pleasant nor disagreeable surprise. In fact, it is no surprise at all, for we were expect- A History of Amos Owens' Life. 27 ing you, and you are welcome to do business at the old stand. We never shake an old friend or an honored acquaintance, and our motto is as ever: "While the lamp holds out to burn. The vilest sinner may return." Bring hither the razor and the shears, and let us put a new striped robe on him. One Year, Amos, for rest and refresh- ments." Amos rose to the emergency, gave the military salute, and replied in kind: "Colonel, this is a case of the place seeking the man, and not the man seeking the place. Bat vdieh- I dance I pay the fiddler, and never shirk when the hat cOmes round. When my country needed my services her call was as the voice of God, and I did all in my power to beat back the nothern invader, When the ruthless carpet bagger preyed like a cormorant on the substance of the South, I joined the Invisible Empire, and whenCuify commenced that foolishness about the "bottom rail being on top," I helped revive the old song; "Run! nigger, run! patroller catch you." When my grateful constituents became so dry they spit bales of cot- ton I tried with my "labratory" to fill a long-felt want and fill it to overflowing. At the end of ten months he was informed that he could again breathe the pure air of heaven, and that other place — Cherry Mountain, if he'd pay up a little matter of $1200 fine and $75 cost. Amos solemnly winked the other eye, and confin- ed himself to the hammer and last. At the end of thirty days he was discharged. Bidding the whole push a hasty good bye, he telegraphed to have malt prepared to make a "run." Always a shrewd financier, he felt that a matter of $1275 for 30 days labor was a pretty fair dividend on the original investment. The malt was prepared, the people sounded aloud the great hew-gag and beat the loud tom-tom. The practiced eyes of 2« A History of Amos Owens' Life. Amos were fastened on the charcoal receptacle. and when the first fiery shots commenced ' 'bead- ing at the worm," he made hill and valley echo with the glad refrain: "Come thou fount of every blessing." His motto was still; "millions for defence but not a cent for revenues. " CHAPTER IX. When the next spring had spread her vernal mantle over the earth, he, as ever, had a, generous supply of copper— distilled, hand-made, standard- proof goods, and the bibulous saw it and were glad. He had made great improvements in his summer resort, and at his castle summer was to last twelve months in the year. While the leaves of his Cherry trees were not recommended for the healing of the nations, his bounce had a reputation rivaling the celebrated "bourbon" of Kentucky. Cherry Mountain was truly celebrated in song and story. Twice had his stills been <le- stroyed, but he reported as ever with a flourish of trumpets and a new out-fit. From every town of size and importance in the Old North State came votaries to do homage at the shrine of gay Bacchus, and from the Lone Star State, the Palmetto State, from the red hills of Georgia and the f estooned-forests of Alabama, came the festive cow-boy, the unadulterated "Goobergrabber, " the wild and woolly "Yaller- hammer," together with the imperious "Sand-lap- per" and the brawny "man-behind the gun," from Old Kentuck. In the June revelries, the guests sportively pelted each other with Irish pota- toes at meal time, and sometimes plates, dishes, axe handles, ox-yokes and bed-posts were used to convince the on-looker in Venice that Southern hospitality was not stinted. One contingent would be dancing furiously to A -'iisTORY OF Amos Owens' Life. 29 the sound of fiddle and barjosepli others trying to eat and the battle royal in progress had caused all the dis les to he smashed over the heads of opposing f ictions. Still another group of merry makers wc uld be engaged in pistol target prac- tice at eac i other, and another squad up the trees picliing ch srries, and get winged by a stray ball. Amos w IS a host of remarkable versatility. If a man wai ited to eat, a bountiful table was al- ways prep, ired; if he wanted to fight, all he had to do was bo go out a few steps and enter the ring. If anybody got ' 'past varigation" he was piL^d into bhe cellar. One man was killed out- right here and others have been probed, dismem- bered, maimed and their faces made to resemble an animated war-map. One man of Gastonia thus giveth his experience at this noted resort. This was his first visit, and he was nob conversant with cherry-bounce and its effects on the human system or society. He was noted for deep piety, and had never felt the p£-ngs of the worm of the still ' 'outvenomous all the wo -ms of the Mle." He asked a man of veiy benij n visage would bounce cause intoxica- tion. Th( old pilgrim skinned his eye-balls de- voutly hesven- ward, and said: "Oh no, son, the pangs of c lerry bounce are not venomous. " Like the blesse( L dew from heaven it blesses him that gives and lim that takes. " The unsophisticated youth of a pious turn of mind quaffed sundry glasses. ''. 'he next thing he remembers, he was offering a standing salary for some one to step on the smokii tg tails of his coat. A wooly necked walking delegate from Taylors- ville, N. C. told him he was there or thereabout. The modt 1 young man cast his eyes about him and saw, i i close proximity, a magnificent ruin in the way oj horseflesh. On this ancient ruin was an old saddle with iron stirrups. The pious youth 30 A HisTOEY OF Amos Oweists' Life. from Gastonia cut the stirrup leather off near the saddle and had a fine sling-shot. He smote the offending gentleman from Taylorsville and has not seen or heard of him since. He rather thinks the man died. CHAPTER X. In the days of so-called chivalry, there were trials of skill among the knighthood, in which the tournament contest was a principal feature. Knights fought on horse-back armed with lances animated by the victors privilege of crowning the queen of love and beauty. The scenes at Cherry Mountain were dashed with a flavor of this spirit, and contests and rivalries of every description were adjusted at this place during the cherry sea son, under the martial inspiration of bounce. Did a man suffer the pangs of unprized love? Here he could meet hi& successful rival, and the blended ceremonies of the gladiatorial ring, the tourna- ment, and the code of the antebellum Kentucky corn shucking were at his service. Sometimes it was an encounter between two agile and muscular giants who gloried in their skill with their dukes. In these contests they stripped to the waist enter- ed the ring, and each principal was backed by a second. No regard was had for recognized ring rules un- der which prize fighters strive for supremacy, but either participant was allowed to strike above or below the belt, and no restrictions or limitations were provided against biting, gouging, or stamp- ing an adversary. Sometimes in the language of James Owens the cousin of Amos, ' 'pieces of noses, fingers, toes and ears, fairly 'kivered' the earth. " A difficulty of this kind generally resulted in a free fight, in which perhaps fifty would partici- pate. While a law has been for a long time on our A HisTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. 31 statute bot)ks against duelling, many affairs of this kind Iiave resulted at this rendezvous. In perhaps a dozen cases, men have been placed at twenty paces, fired at the word of command, and shot to kill. The fact that many of them were in the condition of having a ' 'wabble in the gait and an uncertain look in the eye," cheap pis- tols and bad markmanshipj is all that has pre- vented fatil ending. As it is iiany have been slightly wounded in these affairs of honor, and as before stated, in the free fights where pistols, guns, knives and brick- bats were as plentiful as^ ' 'razors in the air" at a colored church festival, many were injured. An- other diversion was gander pulling. This relief of barbari :5m has been absolute for probably fifty years everf where else, but at Cherry Mountain it made its last stand. A gander would be caught, his legs tii)d together, and tied to a horizontal bar. He would be left swinging eight feet from the ground, and his neck and head greased. Every participant in this diversion would be mounted, md was to ride at full speed by the gan- der and tr y to pull off his head. The greased neck mad( ) this difficult, as the gander, realizing that self presenation is the first law of nature, would doc ge, and the scene would become revolt- ing. The mounts would be grostesque in the extreme. Horses wi1h one eye, horses in the last stage of pov-erty ar d enfeebled age, blind horses, mules of every age, color and previous condition of ser- vitude, and actually oxen, bore these modern knights in this peculiar and revolting tourna- ment. To those who never saw an ox under the saddle, it nay be incredible that he can be made to gallop, )ut a mountaineer with two spurs can dispel thai illusion. To see old Burt Franklin on his muley ox, barefooted and wearing two spurs. 32 A History of Amos Owens' Life. no one would think the bovine either slow or pat- ient. Burt was the champion "gander-puller," and was, withal, a character of peculiar interest. He had served he said, in the Indian war under the stern old Hickory Jackson, was in the Mexi- can war under General Scott, and later, served as a volunteer under the stormy cross of Lee and Jack- son in the Southern Confederacy. He never ac- cumulated any property, and never seemed to want anything better than to be at every festivity of Cherry Mountain. He had the strength of a giant, could walk six- ty miles a day, and ride like a Centaur. He is still living at the age of 98, and when the cry came up from the stricken Pearl of the Antilles, he rode his ox twenty miles to a recruiting station with his "old enfield" on his shoulder, togething with the ancient cartridge box that was bullet pierced in the days of '61 to '65, and wanted to "remember the Maine." The recruiting officer laughed and. told him to go home, prepare to meet his God, and send some of his grand children. He straightened his tall form, flashed his eye, and swore he could out-run, out-jump, out-side, out-march and out shoot his own or any body else's grand- children. He tried several other times to enlist, and will die mad, if he ever dies at all, because he was not allowed to help subdue the haughty Dons. Another popular diversion of this celebrated resort, is chicken fighting. No man is allowed to put a goff on his champion, but the encounters are slugging matches pure and simple. Dog fighting is also popular, for the canine is more venerated in this region than the sacred white elephant in Indian Tor the crocodile in Egypt. In Kentucky they talk horse and here they talk dog. The exercises, during the June A HisTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. 33 carnival sf^ason, reminds one of a modern ' 'mid- way plaisance." At one place "a break-down" is in progress, when the dancing to the music of fid- dle and be.njo is fast and furious, while others will be ou: riding a "flying Jennie." At another place a chicken dispute is in progress, in which a gigantic diing-hill is trying conclusions with a Georgia "shawlneck." Other groups are telling the old story, sighing like a furnace, alternately coquetting; and exchanging vows of eternal con- stancy. Anothei contingent, headed by old Burt Frank- lin, who are lustily cheering the gander pulling tournament. In another quarter a free fight is in progress, and a scene is being enacted that would relegate hitherto cj assic and celebrated Dony brook to eter- nal obscurity. Still another squad are having a passage at arms between a ' 'bench legged fice" and a margy hound of uncertain age. CHAPTER XL The pist )1 duel at word of command is not of frequent cscurrence, but one was pulled off five yeji^rs sine* ; between two gentlemen of color that wa? charai teristic. One coon by the name of "J;ick Badness," and another known as J. Dudley Bomar hacL an ancient grudge which was all on account ol Eliza. Her name was Eliza Bigger- staff and s he was a decided brunette. She had losv an eyt and was aged 47. The eye loss was the result of a contest with her former husband who had g 3ne from rest to refreshment, but before his depart ire had stabbed her in the eye with a scribe awl. for he was a shoe maker. While h 3 lived they both nearly starved but when he shuffled off some six feet of mortal coil, she b: 5came a colored capitalist. As a cook she was in demand, and rumor said she had over 34 A HisTOKY OF AMofe Owens' JUtfe/, 140 to her credit. Here was an opportuiiaty ■ to capture aii heiress, and while Jack Badness was 23, and J. D. Bomar 25 years of age, that matter of $40 covered a .multitude of defects, one-eyed and otherwise, and removed any disparity in years. Both would call every evening at the hours in which "little Annie Rooney" received visits, and would eat a hearty meal at the ex- pense ;of their insomoratta. They would- then scowl at; each other and strap their razors. At length their aggrieved "honor" could no longer tolerate such a state of affairs, and J. Dud- ley Bomar sent by his friend and second, the ReY; Geo. Washington Deck, the following challenge: "To the lazy, pokey, lowzy, good fox iiuthin nigger what is called Jack Badness, who is always loofin round whar heihaint wanted. A Ef ;you haintskeered to deth, you, can meet me at (ShQrry Mounting day after to-morrow. Bring your gun, for I is goin to shoot you so full of holes that ef all de places is filled with wooden pins you'd make a good hat rack. Yours to' kill, ' J. Dudley Bomar." ■:; Jack Badness, after^ a very labored composition, evolved ithe following, and sent it back by his trusted friend and second, "Spotted Buck Sweezy:" ■■■ :' ■ , . .., . ,■ ' 'To de lyin, loofin, thevin son of a gun what stole de money off en a dead man's eyes, and am a coward an blow hard, allow me to say dot you axed me to beat Cherry Mounting if I aint skeered. Never you mine, I'll be dar. T^lk about gun- nin.;Iis gwine to fillyou so full of lead dat youll out- weigh old Burt Franklin's big roan steer. Don't you fret, 111 be dar. Yours on de shoot. Jack Badness." Day after to-morrow came around and J. Dud- A HisTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. 35 ley Bomar and Ms staff came near beating "day after to-morrow" under the string. His first ques- tion was, ' ' whar is dat flat-nosed kidney^f ooted niggah?" tlethen drew a British bull dog, Calibre 38, and seemed eager for the fray. In about an hour Jack Badness, with his friend Spotted Buck Sweezy, came leisurely up the mountain. The news had sprea d, and people were there from Rutherfordton, Shelby, Marion, Mor- ganton and Forest City to witness the encounter. The vaunting Bomar began to show signs of agitation as Col. Jack Badness pulled an eight- inch "cap-and-ball" six-shooter. The distance, twenty paces, ^ was measured and the principals told to take their positions. Henry Houser, of Grassy Branch, was to giye the word c'ommand, and stepping forward, said: "Grentlemen, are you ready?" 'T is," came the defiant answer of Jack Badness, but Bomar gasped, and the words he tried to .utter seemed to die away in the i^afters <of his mouth. . His kne^ wer(3! knocking and ; his -teeth chattering, whife his face took on the blue gray hue, that ?al ways betrays agitation in the negro. ^ Henry . Houser continued : ' 'Attention ! .At the <woi:d c;ne, raise your pistols. At the word two, takejiim." At 'the word three, fire." J. Dud-^ ley Bomar was 'sb;agitated that all he knew was,: he heard t lie woxd fire. sHe pressed the trigger of his pistol: fuhd a roarshowed he had commenced the fray. ' But i his ball : missed his adversary at least twen :y five feet, and went into an upper story of the famous castle Owens; knocking the tail fieathers olltof an eight day clock. Biscre- tion then ^:ot the better part of valor, and hie fled incontinently.: Then Badness started in swift pursuit, firing his eight inch navy. at every jump. Several pin e boughs if ell around the fleeing Bo- mar, but to this day no onekno'Ws the extent' of 36 A History of Amos Owens' Life. his injuries. He never came back, and two weeks later Jack Badness had captured the widow with $40, and now has an oyster, sardine and cider saloon on historic Cherry Mountain. His wife still has one eye, and still cooks and takes in washing. But she and that $40 have parted com- pany. CHAPTER XII. Though this historic place is in twelve miles of Rutherfordton twenty-five miles of Shelby, both good law abiding towns, by common consent this has, until very recently, been no man's land as far as the enforcement of law is concerned. Amos Owens has repeatedly heard the ornate charges of the judge to the jury and grand jury where the resonant language of his honor would recite: "The majesty of the law stands on eternal vigil at the threshold of every home, and the dweller in the lowly hovel as well as the palace comes alike under her beneficent protection." Amos knew, as far as his own expenience was concern- ed, that he could be maltreated, his property de- stroyed, and no legel redress for him in his rights of person or property. On the other hand, until very recently, whoever went there to engage in the festivities took his life in his hand, and had to be quick-triggered to command respect. Boys and girls have performed acts of vandal- ism at this place, that would have disgraced the wild orgies of a negro festival, and nobody pur- nighed. Such treatment has done much to determine his hitherto lawless character. While tliis writer is not upholding the whiskey traffic or manufac- ture, legal or otherwise, it seems that Amos has, in many instances, been a peculiar object of per- secution by the red-legged grass-hopper. While he has defiantly and persistently violated A History of Amos Owens' Life. 37 the revenue laws, in the hackneyed language of the present ' 'there are others. " Many persons by an unfortunate combination of circumstar.ces, become outlaws^ that no amount of prevemion and coercion can reclaim, and Amos is a man of this character. We left him on his second return from Sing Sing, defiant and impenitent. The tall spectral pines stood on eternal vigil near the defile where his distillery was in operation, the flickering lights of his furnace were shed on the eternal rock-ribbed heights of his famous mountain, and his work pursued the noiseless tenor of its way. We can but think, that at times, when "far from the maddening crowd's ignoble strife, with none to see his ' 'deeds of darkness" but God and the rad- iant stars E'.bove, his bitter nature would assert itself and a voiceless cry would go out from his heart in the silent watches of the night; but if so, he suffered and gave no sign. The minister would rise in his pulpit, wax eloquent in the recital of the sins of Amos Owens against God and against society, bii fc did one ever go and administer tv^ords of ])rother]y reproof? The staid church member would invt igh against the evils of intemperance, and then h ave some vagabond to go and see if "Old Amoi Owens" would not send him two gal- lons to tak 3 the bad taste out of his mouth. The young mai, who parted his hair in the middle and taughi a class in Sunday School, Would go up in cher] y time, get drunk as the Pied Piper of Hamelin, 1 >reak dishes, knock-down doors^ smash windows, i urn over the milk and swear like a seaman; ar d then say it was all the fault of old Amos Owe as: The adoring uncles, cousins, aunts and parents would say it was even so, smd pray the good LDrd to bless the labors of the red-legged grass-hopper. Then would it occur to this hunt- ed areh-bl3ckader that "man's inhumanity to 38 A History of Amos Owens' hiFm man makes countless millions mourn." Soon the avenger was again on his track, for as he rode through the state of ' 'Pitchfork Ben Till- man," he was held up near Gaffney, and his fine horse, new wagon, and a barrel of contraband, confiscated. He was placed behind the bars of the Columbia jail, and was later tried and sen- tenced to a term of six month's imprisonment and a fine of one hundred dollars imposed. Being allowed to name his prison he chose Yorkville, South Carolina. Here an incident occurred that showed his courage, sense of gratitude, and devo- tion to friends. Men of deep-seated convictions and great firmness are almost invariably bitter enemies and ardent friends. Sheriff Grienn of York county was a man of hu- mane and generous impulses, and by his kindness won the undying friendship of Amos. Qn ope occasion three desperate negroes resolved in malt- ing a break for liberty. Jumping on the Sheriff while alone, they would have soon taken his life, for the brutal instinct of a savage shows no mercy to a fallen foe. Amos and a man from Catawba county, of this state, came to the relief of the brave oflicer, and the blows of our stalwart hero went with the force of a catapult. One giant fell at his first blow, and his comrade and the ex- hausted sheriff entertained the other who was also an Ethiopian Hercules. The daring leader of the three was yet on foot, and with his firm visage, broad shoulders, and corded muscles, de- velop zd in a turpentine orchard "pulling boxes," was not to be despised. Towering six ieet two, and weighing 205, he felt that he could use up all opposition. He let out a terrific right at our hero which was nimbly dodged. Then with a left that would have won the admiration of Col. John L. Sullivan, Amos dropped the colored son of Anak senseless to the floor. The sheriff had now recov- A History of Amos Owens' Life. 39 ered, and ^vith the li sip of the man from Catawba, the other two were secured. The Sheriff was too generous to let such conduct on the part of our hero and his confederate go unrewarded. Except nominally, they were free men, and carried the ■prison keyM. Amos was the Joseph of the prison, but unlike the Joseph of inspiration, he was not an interpreter of dreams. Certain it is however, that ever after during his incarcerati Dii, he had a whiff every morning of the medical preparation known as peach and honey, anc on the morning after their heroic ad- venture, h 3 and his campanion were the recipient of a pound cake, which, to use his own quaint ex- preysion, was "bigger'n a bosses head." At the end of five months he was released, and one hun- dred dollars extra were paid into his hand. To this day h( ■. i^ touched by this act of benevolence, and the hi.mane treatment accorded him here is like the sjiadow of a great reck in a weary land in his vari(3d and melancholly experience. He further gives an amusing experience with bee J, durii.g this period of incarceration. All mouitain men have bees, and are expert in their management. On^ day Amos heard the :wai'ning wliirr, and notified the sheriff's wife. She sent fcr that official., but he was busy in the office, and sent word to let Amos Owens hive the bees. The bees had on full war-paint and charged a passing mi lister, and tasted the lovely complexion of the beai.tif ul belle of the ball who was also passing. Her shrieks brought out a policeman with blue coat and button, but they respected not his badge ctf office. A "sissy" looking dude was •riding by en a thorough bred, and the the bees fired at thi^ horse and rider hj file and then by volley. T]ie dude being unhorsed, lifted up his voice and said he WA^ stabbed, but the bees heed- 40 A HisTOKY OF Amos Owens' LifbI ed not his signal of distress. Then Amos advan- ced, and to use his expression, "the pickets fired and run in." Like Grant, he moved immediately on their works, and demanded unconditional sur- render. They charged him but what cared he for a few upstart Italian bees, when he had never been vanguished by Uncle Sam, and his legions of red-legged grass-hoppers? The bees rose and took to flight, but he camped on their trail. They settled in a big oak 30 feet from the ground, but he built a high scaffold. He hived ever mother's son of them, brought them back, a distance of 400 yards, and deposited the hive in the colony, singing, in the meantime; "God Save the Queen." CHAPTER XIII. On his discharge he went home, and as his still was destroyed, he bought another outfit. The or- der was, on with the dance, and for three years the work boomed serenely on, with no revenue in- terference to molest or to make afraid. Besides his calling as maker and dispenser of bounces he resolved to build a kind of tower, or observatory, Reference has before been made to the glorious view from this eminence, and our hero set himself to work to build this towering edifice which was to be several stories in height, and to be provided with up-to-date opera glasses, field glasses and a powerful telescope for the use of tourists and sci- entific men. Like the sweet singer of captive Is- rael he prepared his material and like the sweet singer he was not allowed to build. It is here worthy of mention, that in the com- plex character of our hero, there is a strange con- tradiction of terms. While a difiant blockader that no amount of punishment could chasten and subdue, he yet shows some of the generous attri- butes of a great nature. In his heroic defense of A HisTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. 41 Sheriff Glenn at Yorkville jail, while he escaped unscathed, he boldly imperiled his life and limb, showing the almost divine character portrayed in Revelation: "Greater love hath no man than this that a man shonld lay down his life for his friend. " Now we see him, an unlettered man who does not know the lost pleaides from Col. Henry Wat- terson's "Star-eyed goddess of Reform, " preparing a temple in the wilderness for the patronage of science, a nd for the comfort and convenience of the people that have calumniated and betrayed him; erecting a place of rest and enjoyment, plac- ing the enchanting grandsur of ' 'The Land of the Sky" in the range of every one's vision who will sweep the grand panorama with these auxiliaries of science. We are reminded of the saying of Jesus of Naz- areth that sinners and publicans shall enter the kingdom of the Lord before the self-righteous Pharisee, and of the sweet but sad couplet from the "Quaker Poet": ' 'In the hereafter, angels may Roll the stone from its grave away. " CHAPTER XIV. Again he had an invasion from the cohorts of the red-legged grass hopper, and was taken to Asheville to again sit on the mourner's bench be- fore Judge Dick. It is here worthy of remark, thai3 with all his fierce hatred of the revenue offi- cers, he never resisted arrest. He therefore was as usual like a sheep before its shearers, but had his teamster to load up with "taters," Asheville was still a great market for taters, and the deal re- sulted in a sale of "20 bushels and 40 gallons." His still was again destroyed but everything was not found. Again did Judge Dick impose a term of twelve months imprisoment, a fine of one hun- 43 A History of Amos Owens' Life. dred dollars and a scathing- rebuke. Again did Amos gaze at the whole judiciary with mingled scorn and defiance, and gleefully hop ' 'onto" the black moriah that conveyed him to the bastile, preparatory to going for a third visit to Sing Sing. The officials of that famed institution of learning tendered the glad hand, and joy was uiiconfined. As the conductor announced the station, our hero cackled with ungodly glee and yelled out: "One year for rest and refreshments." The superin- tendent said: Amos, I knew you would not disap- point us. Others have said that the memory of the venerable delegate from North Carolina would henceforth be: "Like the touch of a hand that is vanished, And a voice that forever is stilled," but I said, "You don't know Amos." The old offender with anger in his eye and re- proach in his tones, said: "What have I ever done to cause any one to doubt my loyalty to this insti- tution? Did I not graduate here, and did I not tell you and your minions I was coming back to take a post-graduate course? If I ever hear another doubt expressed, I'll confer my patronage on some other institution. This is not the only "pen" in the world, and there are others that would be glad to have m_e. " It will be observed that Amos uses good language for an unlettered man. No one to converse with him, would con- sider that he is not a man of scholarship. He served his dreary sentence, again getting off thirty days for good behavior and paying his fine of one hundred dollars by thirty days labor. So, at the end of twelve months he bought a new "still" and went, even as the dog feturneth to his vomit, to his old vocation. In all he has had nine distilling out-fits destroyed, and has served three terms in the penitentiary. A reaction took place, and for a time he had respite from his persecu- tions. But the work went bravely on, and his A HisTOEY OF Amos O weirs'' Life. 43 whiskey, brandy and bonnce was still a legal tender in JSTorth Carolina. CHAPTER XV. About this time another Richmond appeared in the field, and his scene of operations was near classic Cherry Mountain. Alternately, he was a maker of moonshine, and a red-legged grass-hop- per. When a maker of contraband he was like a bold buccaneer of the Spanish main, and he had many bloody encounters. He was a Hercules in strength and stature, and shot to kill. He led a lawless life, and while a generous man to those he liked, was a vindictive and uncompromising foe. He kept up a trade between North and South Carolina, and shot and maimed several parties in personal encounters, and finally the state of South Carolina became too hot to be comfortable. He was imprisoned several times, but by the aid of confederates, and fertility of resources, he always managed to escape. Like Mark Twain's war ex- perience, he "had fought bn both sides," and the moonshiners never forgave him for being a red- legged grass-hopper, and the marshals despised .him^ for being a dealer in contraband whiskey. The plot thickened, and he had so many personal difiiculties that he resorted to deeds of violence that caused a price to be placed on his head. He armed himself, and in the defiles of Cherry Moun- tain defied the conservators of law and order. His reti ea;t was discovered, and a posse led by a vete- ran red-legged grass-hopper, invaded his lair. "Slipping up on him," in mountain parlance, the pos^ie enjoined him to surrender. He turned at bay, threw his rifle to his face, and whistled a bullet through the hair of the man he most in- tensely hated on earth — the reviled publican or red-legged grass-hopper. His shot was answered by a volley from the Winchesters, shot-guns and 44 A HiSTOKY OF Amos Owens' Life. revolvers of his hunters. He fell bleeding from half a dozen wounds, but with fierce oaths, tried to again "pump lead" with his Winchester. He was disarmed and carried to prison. His leg was shattered at the thigh by a ball from a 44 Win- chester, three pistol balls had struck him and two charges of No. 4 shot were in his body. Every one thought he would die, but, as usual, every one was mistaken. He languished in jail till court, when the Judge in compassion for his ter- rible wounds, gave him the privilege of leaving the state. He took the offer, and speedily absent- ed himself from North Carolina society. With all his faults he was a generous, hospitable fellow, and a warm friend of the writer. His people still live in the counties of Rutherford and Cleveland, and are among the most honored citizens of both counties. CHAPTER XVI. Before we give the final chapter in the life and public serrices of Amos Owens, brief notice shall be taken of an ex-blockader who has reformed and shows symptoms of engaging in the minisitry. He was a maker of whiskey, a salesman of the same, and feared neither God nor regarded man. To him the red-legged grass-hopper also became a burden, and on more than one occasion he trod the wine-press of tribulation, and ' 'played check- ers with his nose upon the prison bars." At length his own familiar friends became his ene- mies, and he and his brother-in-law tried conclu- sions in which a pistol, a sling shot, and a rock all figured. The hero of this sketch pulled for greener fields and pastures new, but the villians still pursued him. He was leading a very exem- plary life at Polkville in Cleveland county, when a Rutherford constable, with the power of ap- parently, the entire county at his back, told the A HisTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. 45 offender to put up his liands. This he did, and a search of his pockets revealed nothing more dead- ly than a small plow- wrench. He was placed un- der heavy bond, with orders to report at Cherry Mountain on a day and d^te provided. The un- fortunate came to this writer and said that our services were desired as attorney in his behalf. He was told that Ye scribe was not a lawyer, but tried to be an honest man. He was. asked why we were taken for a lawyer. He said: "a man who contested everything, conceded nothing and talked by the hour was a lawyer by nature, instinct and profession." We reported at the temple of justice on Cherry Mountain, one mile from Castle Owens, and found every-body in that region was a partisan, on one side or the other. The learned magistrate looked at me, and asked if I had a license to practice law. He was informed that some men have a roving commission and can practice where they please. The trial proceeded, and it was racy. When we cross-examined a woman in the case, she invariably used her last and strongest argument — tears. Finally every- thing wept, but the "lawyer," his client and the mules that furnished our means of transportation to the trial. The magistrate looked wise, said it was a "haynous" offense with which my client was charged. He gave it as his opinion that my client should be hung, and called on him to stand up and receive the death sentence. He was in- formed that the defendant should not hang, or if he did, I'd see that the other fellow was hung too. He finally released the defendant who came home, took the pledge, and now wants to preach, but can't read. CHAPTER XVn. We now come to the last time Amos Owens was called to appear before a tribunal for violation of 46 A HiSTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life. the revenue laws. In 1890 he was arrested, and taken before Judge Dick in Charlotte, 'N. C. His head was now white as the driven snow, and the tender heart of Judge Dick was touched with pity. Tears rose to his kindly eyes, for the official was a man of generous and humane impulses. In a voice vibrant with emotion, he said: "Amos Owens, stand up. Three times you have worn the garb of a convict, and time and again have you been fined and im- prisoned. You are said to be a man of noble im- pulses and many worthy traits of character. Your gray hairs should be a crown of glory in- stead of a badge of infamy. Amos, you and I are on the shady side of the hill of life, and soon shall be called from time to eternity. Why do you live the life of an Ishmael with your hand raised against the majesty of tlie law and the hand of organized society against you^^ Amos, I can but believe there are deep and hidden well- springs of good in your nature, and ere I am called to the bar of a just God, I shall appeal to the generosity of your better nature. Amos, as man speaks to man, will you cease to violate the laws of you country and to be an out-cast of so- cietyf An intense hush pervaded the court room, for never before had -any appeal been made to the generous nature of this ancient transgres- sor. Then something happened that the shock of battle, the groans and shrieks of dying comrades, the privations of army prison life and the frown- ing walls of Sing Sing has failed to call forth. The hardened look of defiance faded from his face, tears welled to his eyes, his rugged frame shook with feeling. In a voice choking with emo- tion he said; "Judge, I'll— try." The effect was electrical. All the judicial dignity in the State could not have restrained the rapturous yell that A History of Amos Owens' Life. 47 rose from the audience, for the house was packed to everflowing. The sight of the audacious moon- shiner who had hitherto seemed to have a de- moniac spirit that no man could tame, weeping, with contrition at the bar of Justice, and the dignified judge in tears; convinced all present that ' 'a touch of nature makes us all wondrous kind." The lawyers present, the representatives of the press, and many others, including a red legged- grass hopper, grasped his hand in welcome. Then and thereupon the lawyers of Shelby, Charlotte and Rutherfordton "chipped in" and bought him a fine beaver and a pair of gold-baned eye-glasses. His storm-rent and battle scarred visage took on a softer light than ever before, and he went his way, it is hoped, to sin no more. Judge Dick has been called to his record, and Amos venerates his memory. Pretty much all his original enemies have likewise passed over the river, and he is now enthroned at Cherry Moun- tain — listening at the wind wailing through his forest pines, aud looking with pride on his one thousand Inroad acres. With the exception of George Vanderbilt, he is the only man that owns an entire mountain in the State. While the red- legged grass-hopper has ceased to be a burden, his head flourishes like the almond tree, those that look out of the window are becoming darkened, and the strong man begins to tremble. Let us hope, that when the pitcher is broken at the fountain and the golden cord be loosened, when the mourners go about the streets ; that he shall b3 with the redeemed around the great white throne. Should he be with that favored multi- tude, it can certainly apply to his case: "These are they who came up through great tribulations. " Whatever may be his fate in eternity, he is cer- tainly the most wonderful blockader, quick or 48 A HisTOEY OF Amos Oweks' Life. dead, and it can be said of him as of Napoleon, the Great, "The man withont a model and without a shadow." CHAPTER XVIII. Recently, signs have been discovered that this mountain is fall of valuable mineral. Three- fourths of the world's supply of mica is found in North Carolina, and a mine is being worked here that contains this mineral in paying quantities. The forest wealth of this mountain, were it near a good market, would be the means of an im- mense fortune to some shifty up-to-date investor. This State has more varieties of timber than the same area anywhere else on earth, and every kind of tree is found here that grows in the State ex- cept about three species that abound in the tide- water region. It is, besides, the natural home of many medicinal herbs, among others the famous ginseng or "Sang" as it is called in mountain par- lance. All who have ever read ' 'The Sang Dig- ger" by Amelia Rino Chandler, know that the ginseng root has great commercial value. The best customers are the ' 'heathen Chinese, " who use it in their Joss houses in burning incense, and also for medical properties. Gold has b9en found on this mountain, also silver and lead. There is a well-founded tradition that one of the With- rows in the shooting matches popular in his day and generation, always got his lead from here, but would never tell any one the location of his mine. The secret perished with him, but he re- vealed to some confidential friends, that it was somewhere on Cherry Mountain. A few years since, a firm in Germany discover- ed that monazite, a yellow sand found here, has a great commercial value. It was used to gener- ate an incandescent light, being like mica, im- perious to ordinary heat. The first and most A HisTOEY OP Amos Owens' Life. 49 valuable mine of monazite was located on Cherry Mountain, and this industry made L. A. Gettys, then, a struggling and obscure school teacher, a capitalist. For beautiful wild flowers this place is not surpassed on earth, and mention has been before made of the grand panorama of scenery that unfolds itself before your gaze. The crest of this mountain being in the Iso-Thermal belt, peaches, apples, grapes, and other fruit crops are unfailing, as they are above the frost-line. Were a good road built to the top of this mountain, a nice boulevard or driveway on top, an up to date hotel and observatory, this would be an ideal re- sort. In the sultry summer season it would be a welcome retreat for the southerner who wishes surcease from heat, malaria and mosquitoes, while it would, also, be a delightful winter resort for those who wish to escape the rigors of a win- ter in more northern climes. The present owner of Cherry Mountain, as befere stated, is unletter- ed, and in his circumscribed sphere, could see no way under heaven or among men to make a living except to still and make bounce. He reverently believed that he should be allowed to make free whiskey, and regarded the acts of the government as a species of "taxation without representation." Like the bold barons that came from Runnymede, and at the point of the sword, forced the haugh- ty King John who bore the scepter of power and woi-e the purple of authority, to grant the charter of human rights, he has alone tried to resist the government, in the zeal worthy of a better cause. In the light of successful achievement, we can honor our forefathers for resisting a tax on tea and glass, which was levied to meet expenses of a war for our interest, but when it comes to Red- mond, Amos Owens and others of that ilk raising the flag of revolt— why that is altogether a differ- ent matter. So A History OF Amos Owen's' hml While whiskey is evidently a curse, is it not as blighting in its effects on society, if made by k trust of steam distilleries and the tax evaded as for Amos Owens to make a few gallons by hand and decline to pay the revenue? Such 'is the rea- soning of this man of such a wonderful experience and such is the fair verdict, in practice justice or otherwise. CHAPTER XIX. This work was written by one who never saw a moonshine distillery, and who deplores the moon- shiner's persistence in their precarious calling. The important datas- were given by Amos Owens, by Dr. Thomas Carson of Bostic, J. C. El- liott of Polkville and other men of probity and character. At the request of Amos Owens, him- self, the work was written and is hereby offered to the public. It would have been just as easy to picture him as the leader of a ferocious banditti who revelled in -scenes of blood. It would have been just as easy to say that as a land-pirate he kidnapped beautiful maidens, and extorted heavy ransoms for their deliverance. The flights of fancy might also have conjured a spider-legged dude of twenty-three summers, who, with a signal service tin shield under his lapeL a dark lantern in one hand a cast barrelled swamp angel in the other, rushed on Amos Owens and one hundred beetle-browed confederates, and bellowed at them to surrender in the name of the State. The same process could have evolved a beautiful maiden of "nineteen, " wild-eyed, haggard and dishevelled, who rushed before the foot-lights and shrieked: "Oh, Sirs, spare him fori love him." Candor compels the statement that nothing so tragical ever occurred in the experience of this bold block- ader. He is blood-guiltless as far as officers are concerned, but as a sharp shooter in the ranks of A HisTOEY OF Amos Owens' Life.' 51 the Confederacy, he may have slain some of the opposing foemen. CHAPTER XX. In all well-regulated novels the hero has to steal his bride, and is pursued by her irate father and about five hundred horsemen. They camp three days on the trail of the fugi- tives, the old man and his retinue swearing they are going to bathe their hands in gore. On the fourth day they overhaul the fleeing pair, who are both mounted on the same "richly caparisaned steed," and the hunted Lochinar turns at bay. After a fierce struggle, in which about seventy-five of the attacking party bites the dust, the facts develop that the couple were mar- ried not two hours since by a wandering justice of the peace, and the marriage certificate is placed in evidence. By strawberry marks and infantile attire, the bride-groom proves his lineage on one side from a sored-eye wandering minstrel of an Italian count, and on the other from a pig-sticker of Chicago. These credentials are satisfactory, and the old ma 11 knt)ws his son-in-law is no plebian, but a high roller. They go back to his palace and for six weeks there is a round of merry-making and war sail. CHAPTERXXI Amos Owens was married once and but once, to Miss May Sweezy. When his time came to marry he got on his horse, "Old Hickory" and rode over to old man Sweezy 's. The old man was worming and suckering tobacco, and on seeing Amos, got off the original observation. ' 'Light and look at yer saddle-" "I hain't got time," said Amos, "wharisMary Ann?" "She has gone to peel some walnuts to dye some cloth, what's up?" 52 A History op Amos Owens' Life. ' 'Oh, nothing, particular, " said Amos, we thought we'd marry this evening." "Marry! the devil!" Quoth the old man, pretending as is usual under such conditions, to be greatly surprised. "No I just wanted his daughter, " quoth the irrepressible Amos, ' 'arid had no idea of marrying the whole family. " The old man grinned, humped himself over a tobacco plant, and Amos hunted up the future partner of his joys and sorrows. She was found, bare-headed and bare-footed, coming with a bas- ket of walnut hulls. This she delivered, and making no other changes in her toilet except to put on her home made shoes and ' 'wagon cover" bonnet, she gayly mounted on old Hickory behind Amos. They hunted up a justice of the peace and stated their business. He soon pronounced the ceremony, and was then and there tendered a coon-skin and a quart bottle of brandy. He threw the coon-skin on the floor and then and there took an observation of the heavens over the end of that bottle. Amos brought her to his three story house, which was not three stories high but three stories long, and she that evening milk- ed the cow and set a hen, while Amos made an ox- yoke and repaired his wagon harness. That is all there is in the way of romance about his marriage, and it is to be observed that he has been kind to his family and through all his privations and vic- issitudes, she has been a help-meet true as steal. Sketches and cuts of this remarkable man have appeared from time to time in Police Gazette, Chicago Elade, Pennsylvania Grit, Charlotte Ob- server, Cleveland Star, Morganton Herald, Shel- by Aurora and other periodicals and publications, and as the author first "dug him up," so to speak, he now offers to the public the inclosed matter in book form. As the hero has kept no diary, many interesting facts are omitted. The work is closed, ■ A History of Amos Owens' Life. 53 in the hope that the reader will be at least enter- tained. "CORN CRACKER." CHAPTER XXII. In connection with the history of this notorious blockader, notice will be taken of another cele- brated character, likewise a mountaineer. He is known to profane history as Jerry Bowlin, and is the greatest exponent, living or dead, of ' 'squatter soverignty. " Like Amos Owens he is unlettered, and like him in other respects, he is well nigh re- doubtable. His age is about seventy-five years, and in person he is strong, rugged, and of medium height. His hair is dark his eyes are gray, while his firmly compressed mouth and resolute chin, indicate great determination. On the corner of the counties of Rutherford, Burke and McDowell, he staked a claim, so long since that the memory of man runneth not back to the contrary. He married a wife at an early age, and, in a pine pole ' 'sway-backed" cabin, under- took to rear a family. Eor their meagre subsist- ence they planted a patch of corn, raised a small garden every year, hunted squirrels, pulled tan- back, and hunted herbs of a commercial value. At length .' 'pay dirt" was found in the vicinity, and the syndicate known as the Golden Valley Mining Company was organized and began opera- tion. The land was what is called speculation land, and they bought up a large boundary. In this iDOundary, was the modest mansion of Jerry Bowlin, with the small clearing he had opened. Here was a clash of interests, and the haughty re- presentative of the corporation told Jerry to ab- squatulate. But Jerry took another hitch at his belt, tightened his coon-skin cap on his head, and told them he was there for the season. Scare- 54 A History of Amos Oweists' Life. liead notices with heavy penalties were posted and read in his hearing, but Jerry took a fresh nip of long green, and pursued the even terror of his way. The writ of ejectment was served by the sheriff, but Jerry observed that he had always noticed that lightning in the north was a mighty good sign of rain. The sheriff came with the regula- tion posse of sixteen stalwart men, but found nothing to throw out of the house but a maul and wedge. Not a bed, cooking utensil, or article of apparel was in sight, Jerry again remarked that lightning in the north was a ' 'shore" sign of rain, getting out his "twist" meantime, and taking a very consoling nip of long green. That night there was a sound of revelry in his hails, and the flickering light of pine knots shone over fair wo- men and brave men, while beds stood in their ac- customed places, raiment for male and female dangled from wooden pins in the wall, while the savory smell of flrying pork rose from a "spider," and corn bread "ripened" in the skillet. The next morning he met a representative of the syn- dicate, that informed him with some asperity that he had to vambose the ranch — that money was no object. That they had money to burn, and would dislodge him if it cost one hundred thousand dol- lars. He meditated for five minutes, and remark- ed that he had been noticing the weather nearly seventy years, and never saw it fail to rain when it lightened in the north. The dignitary of a syndicate said when their company tried to "raise" a man from their territory they "raised" him whether it lightened at all or not; and they each went his way. The next morning the Sher- iff of Rutherford county again reported with his regulation posse of sixteen brawny men, at the domicle of Jerry. The latter came out, bowed gracefuly, and remarked: "Gentlemen, I may have never told you before, but I have taken per- Nortfi Carolina Sfafe Library Raleigh A History of Amos Owens' Life. 55 tickler notice tliat when it lightens in the north — The Sheriff here stuck a gun in his face, and said: You old whelp, where are your goods? Yes- terday you had nothing to throw out but a maul and wedge, and last night your house was full up, of beds, clothing, and cooking utensils, and you were having a shin-dig. Now I'am going to pull down ' 'your durned old house. " The house was pulled down, and not a woman, child, article of clothing or cooking utensil was visible. The Sheriff left, and the syndicate rejoiced. But the next night the sound of revelry was again heard, and some members of the syndicate went down to reconnoiter. They found the house up and in tact but still sway-backed, the beds and clothing in their places. Pork and Squirrel frying, and Jerry leading a break-down. They slunk back to their places, feeling that syndicates sometimes met their match. On the next morning Jerry passed the mining shaft with his long rifle on his shoulder, and remarked: "If you see the Sheriff, I wish you'd tell him I said it is a good sign of rain to see it lighten in the north." COEN CRACKER. M. L. WHITE. POLKVILLE, ]Sr. C. — .-«5(}Vil.i-_ BIO B 097W White, M. L. A history of the life of Amos Owens, the 3 3091 00090 9366 DATE DUE SEP ^ ^ W« GAYLORD PRINTED INU.S.A. Ljauloyd PAMPHLET BINDER ~ " ~ Syracuse, N. Y. — ^ Stockton, Calif. NOTTTH CAROLINIANA RESTRICTED B U97W White / NORTH CAROLINIANA A history of the life of Amos Owens, the noted blockader. of €iferr;r Mountain^ sK%p g9 m ^p ^mUpfJLr ^odl / E Q97W Miite A history of the life of Amos Owens, the noted blockader, of Cherry Mountain, N. C.